Five Seconds, 15 Yards, One Shot: Could You Do It?


By now, every self-styled self-defense expert on social media — and some genuine ones — have had a chance to weigh in on the incident at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. But, putting aside the pontificating, there is one question those who carry a sidearm for personal protection must ask themselves:

Could you duplicate Jack Wilson’s shot that stopped a madman and prevented a probable massacre?

Insider Online has studied the 51-second video that warped across cyberspace within hours of the violent Dec. 29, 2019 attack by a killer using a shotgun. From the time the “evil,” as Wilson referred to the person who fatally wounded two members of the church congregation, to the time a bullet to the head dispatched him to the infernal regions, just six seconds passed.

Workman went to the range to practice the ‘Jack Wilson’ drill.
He scored four hits but missed a couple of times as well. Now you try!

My pal Marty Hayes, founder of the Firearms Academy of Seattle and nationally-known firearms instructor, posted a message on Facebook: “I propose a new shooting drill to test your and your student’s skills. The ‘Jack Wilson’ drill. One shot, from concealment, no warmup. Must fire only one shot, get a head shot, in 5 seconds or less at 15 yards. Who is up for the challenge?”

Wilson’s shot was no mean feat, even for an experienced shooter. This column retired to the nearby outdoor range to give it a whirl, in pretty crummy weather. Using my trusty Colt Combat Commander with the steel frame and 230-grain Black Hills ball ammo, I punched four holes, one at a time, in a Birchwood Casey target, from the draw while wearing a parka. Admittedly, it wasn’t easy, and I missed a couple of times, too.

I used a Birchwood Casey 9-inch oval self-adhesive target for the drill, but a good substitute might be to fill a plastic gallon jug with water and either put it on a post or hang it from the crossbar of a target stand. That size of the jug is roughly the same size as a human head.

A plastic gallon jug roughly approximates to the size
of an average head. Try hitting this at 15 yards.

Hayes posted that he ran a couple of his instructors through the drill, as well as himself, adding “We all passed.”

Putting things in perspective, we all had the advantage of not being in the middle of mayhem and chaos. My ears weren’t ringing from the muzzle blast of a shotgun fired inside a church sanctuary where the acoustics are, shall we say, nerve-rattling. And I had the edge of being mentally prepared.

Sudden and Un-scheduled

Violent acts typically happen suddenly, and they’re not on a fixed schedule. Crazy killers don’t call ahead to declare their intentions.

These factors make Wilson’s cool-headed response to the monstrous violence even more remarkable. The veteran firearms instructor and former reserve sheriff’s deputy seemed to be dealing well with the incident in an interview broadcast by one network a day later.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center’s most recent estimate, more than 18.6 million of us are licensed to carry. Wilson and several other members of the church congregation have formed a volunteer security team. One of their colleagues, Richard White, was the first man shot.

In the video, White clearly can be seen reaching for a handgun, which appears to have been tucked somewhere near small-of-back. He seemed to have some trouble drawing the gun, giving his killer time to swing the shotgun muzzle in his direction and fire. One second later, the gunman has chambered a second round and swung the gun on church deacon Anton Wallace and fired.

It was then the killer turned and headed toward the front of the church as members of the congregation were scrambling for cover. By this point, four seconds have passed since he drew the shotgun, and Wilson has drawn his SIG SAUER P229 and taken aim. Two seconds later, it’s over, and at least seven other armed citizens can be seen in the video, guns drawn, closing in on the downed shooter and carefully shuffling fellow church members out of harm’s way.

Mass Tragedy Averted

While the establishment media could hardly ignore what happened, the incident didn’t get the kind of attention a church shooting might receive had there been no armed response and a higher body count.

Typically, gun prohibition groups come down with lockjaw in the wake of a successful takedown of a would-be mass killer by an armed private citizen.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other state officials declared Wilson a hero. He stopped a killer and a man with a criminal background in at least four states.

Perhaps Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and co-author (with this correspondent) of “Good Guys with Guns” and “America Fights Back,” a pair of books that discuss armed self-defense by private citizens, put it best.

“We don’t know what motivates someone to open fire on a peaceful church congregation,” Gottlieb said. “But thanks to the video, we know what stops them.”

Return of the Original ‘Snake’

In the event readers haven’t heard or live in a cave, one of the gun industry’s most closely guarded secrets was revealed on New Year’s Day: Colt has resurrected the legendary Python six-shot double-action revolver in .357 Magnum.

The newly minted model is available with either a 4.25- or 6-inch barrel featuring that famously sexy vent rib and full-length underlug. Done in stainless steel, Colt says new steel and internal re-design makes them stronger than the original. Barrels are cut with a 1:14-inch left-hand twist with six lands and grooves.

The new model has a recessed crown, an improved rear adjustable sight, interchangeable front blade sight, a smooth double-action and the Python’s terrific target stocks. Overall length is 9.75 inches with the shorter barrel and 11.5 inches with the longer tube. Incidentally, the barrel is solid — there’s no sleeve.

The 4.25-incher weighs 42 ounces while the longer scales 46 ounces. This sixgun will likely be in the spotlight during next week’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Expect every internet gun blogger to weigh in with his/her impressions and American Handgunner to have an early review.

Nine-shot Nostalgia

We received the following correspondence from reader Marc Nicholson via email:

“I did a double-take when I saw Dave Workman’s article ‘Of All Things Christmas’ (Insider Online, Dec. 20).

“In the early ’70’s I was gifted my uncle’s H&R model 923. It has a shorter barrel and slightly different grip than the author’s 922 but the removable 9-shot cylinder, sights, and pretty much everything else is the same. Mine too is a veteran of many raccoon hunts, as well as dispatching woodchucks that dug up the yard. I remember very well a ‘make it or stink,’ head shot on a surprise close encounter with a skunk.

Insider was gifted this old Harrington & Richardson Model 922
nine-shooter inside a shoebox by his father on his 14th birthday.

“As with Dave’s, mine shot high left, which gave me my first introduction to point of aim/point of impact. Of course, I never informed my buddies about this ‘quirk’ so in their eyes I was the handgun master of our group.

“After probably pallets of short, long, and long rifle rounds, the trigger sear finally wore out. I don’t think there is a gauge made that could measure the double-action pull of that old .22 so it was retired, but it still resides in a place of honor among my other guns.

“Thanks for rekindling some fond, old memories!”

Marc, I’m delighted my little tale from decades past brought a smile during the holidays. By today’s standards, those old H&R rimfire revolvers may not be much, but lives are made of memories, and it means a lot that I could stir some of yours. Thanks so much for reading. —Dave Workman

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